Business leaders set goals for next govt
The ability of the next government to attain 8 percent economic growth depends on efforts to tackle the power crisis, increased private-sector investment, greater foreign direct investment inflows and an effective strategy to brand Bangladesh, said business leaders and economists yesterday.
They spoke at a seminar, organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, which was attended by Finance Adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam as chief guest.
The adviser said there is no alternative to rental power plants to generate electricity within a short time.
"This is the reason the government has made agreements with several companies to buy electricity," Aziz said.
The economists, chamber leaders, political leaders, development experts and CEOs of companies stressed the need for skills development, more access to finance and an effective diaspora strategy.
They also underscored efforts to create a dynamic SME sector, increase exports of high value-added products, improve the legal system, focus on environmentally-sustainable growth and improve regional infrastructure.
They also suggested the Board of Investment continue reform programmes.
The government should set up a 'Brand Bangladesh' taskforce with a core committee, comprising the heads of the BoI, Export Promotion Bureau, the foreign ministry, FBCCI and non-resident Bangladeshis, professional groups from Europe and the US, the speakers emphasised.
Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud, former caretaker government adviser, moderated the seminar, "Maximising Growth for Bangladesh: A Private Sector Vision", chaired by FBCCI President Annisul Huq.
"Bangladesh is the only nation in South Asia, which maintained 5 percent GDP growth rate in five successive years, despite some major obstacles," Wahiduddin Mahmud said.
Latifur Rahman, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the country should be free from hartals and blockades. "Workers have every right to strike, but hartrals or blockades are unacceptable."
Centre for Policy Dialogue Chairman Dr Rehman Sobhan said measures to develop the skills if the workforce should be taken.
Ifty Islam, managing partner of Asian Tiger Capital Partners, presented the keynote paper at the seminar.